OAKHAM’S 2nd XI were held to a draw in their top-of-the-table clash against Loughborough Town 3rd XI at the Lime Kilns on Saturday.
Matt Parnham claimed five for 39 for Oakham but Loughborough, chasing 156-8, held onto their final two wickets to end on 140-8.
It proved to be a hard fought affair after skipper Matt Osman again lost the toss and the home side were put in on an inevitably green, damp track.
Loughborough had bowled out their opponents for just 43 a week earlier and the omens were not good when opener, Graham Cooper fell early bowled round his legs by a swinging delivery.
But this brought in Andrew Counsell (43), and he and Mazz Edge (34) dug deep to keep the Loughborough attack at bay, compiling a near century stand before both were dismissed with the score on a 108.
Last week’s hero Matt Osman fell LBW for a duck and only some stubborn defence from the lower order saw Oakham play out the remaining overs, finishing on 156-8, a below par total which was helped greatly by 41 extras from the opposition.
In reply Loughborough started strongly with Oakham opening bowler Matt Parnham, struggling to find his rhythm and conceding 27 runs in only three overs as Loughborough’s Hardisty (61) helped himself to five early boundaries.
At the other end, Andy Ainscough was economical (1-39 in 16 overs), continually beating the outside edge with some beautiful medium paced swing bowling.
Osman brought himself on for a marathon 20 over spell, taking 2 for 53 and this pair’s tight bowling put the pressure back on the visitors at 100 for 3 in 35 overs.
Osman then gambled by bringing the previously erratic Parnham back into the attack and he took a wicket with his first ball. The pace bowler then ripped through the lower order taking five wickets for only 12 runs in six overs including the vital wicket of Hardisty.
Osman then removed the dangerous Patel, with Matt Counsell taking a fine catch, and the opposition decided at 139-8 in the 42nd over they would settle for a losing draw – closing at 140-8.
Club chairman Andrew Counsell said: “This was a great result against the league leaders given that Oakham had to defend a below par total.”
Both teams slipped one place at the top of a tight division seven with Hinckley 2nds now a single point clear of Loughborough, who are four ahead of third-placed Oakham.